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Offline ByzCat3000

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Justin Martyr, heretic on EENS?
« on: August 09, 2019, 09:55:51 AM »
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  • Ladislaus said that it was a consensus among Catholics before 1600 that salvation was impossible without a belief in the Trinity and the Incarnation.  I believe that I have at least one dissenting voice from a canonized saint.


    Justin Martyr, First Apology, Chapter 46


    Quote
    [color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.87)]But lest some should, without reason, and for the perversion of what we teach, maintain that we say that Christ was born one hundred and fifty years ago under Cyrenius, and subsequently, in the time of Pontius Pilate, taught what we say He taught; and should cry out against us as though all men who were born before Him were irresponsible — let us anticipate and solve the difficulty. We have been taught that Christ is the first-born of God, and we have declared above that He is the Word of whom every race of men were partakers; and those who lived reasonably are Christians, even though they have been thought atheists; as, among the Greeks, Socrates and Heraclitus, and men like them; and among the barbarians, Abraham, and Ananias, and Azarias, and Misael, and Elias, and many others whose actions and names we now decline to recount, because we knowit would be tedious. So that even they who lived before Christ, and lived without reason, were wicked and hostile to Christ, and slew those who lived reasonably. But who, through the power of the Word, according to the will of God the Father and Lord of all, He was born of a virgin as a man, and was named Jesus, and was crucified, and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, an intelligent man will be able to comprehend from what has been already so largely said. And we, since the proof of this subject is less needful now, will pass for the present to the proof of those things which are urgent.[/color]
    Source: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0126.htm



    Justin Martyr clearly says that those who lived reasonably, before the birth of Christ, WERE CHRISTIANS, despite the fact that they were "thought atheists."  Of course, I realize they were thought atheists, at least if I recall correctly, because they did not believe in the Greek Gods, and believed in One God, however presumably they would NOT have known about Christ and the Trinity.  This sounds a fair bit like the "rewarder God" theory.

    I have questions about this, for discussion.

    1: I realize Justin Martyr does not explicitly say that this principle (that those who live reasonably are Christians despite a conscious belief in Christ) applies to anyone after the coming of Christ, however, I see no principle that would separate Socrates from a similarly virtuous person (if there are any) living in China on the day of Pentecost, or in Native America in 1200.  Does anyone else?  If so, can anyone tell me what it is?

    2: I realize some might say that one voice, even that of a canonized saint, doesn't break the consensus.  I grant that perhaps this is true.  But, if that be the case, how many voices would it take?  And however many it would take, why is that?

    3: I realize someone could argue that the dogma "Outside the Church there is no salvation" refutes Justin's theorizing here.  However, I don't think this is the case, because of the way he frames this argument.  He says those who lived reasonably *are Christians*, and since "Christian" would've meant Catholic at that time, its not much of a leap to assume that Justin would've thought that someone like Socrates or a similarly reasonable person is in fact inside the Church, even though he doesn't explicitly,  precisely use that language.  Is there any particular reason why similar theorizing is impossible now?


    Offline Pax Vobis

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    Re: Justin Martyr, heretic on EENS?
    « Reply #1 on: August 09, 2019, 10:59:32 AM »
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  • St Justin was saying that there were God-fearing men who lived among the atheists (i.e. Plato/Socrates) and among the barbarians (i.e. Abraham and the 3 men in the fiery furnace).  In the Old Testament, to be saved, you had to follow the 10 commandments, believe in the one True God and have faith in the coming redeemer.  There is evidence that Plato/Socrates rejected the Greek's polytheism and believed many jewish doctrines.  Socrates is said to have been murdered for his preaching contrary to the Greek pagans.
    .
    https://torreybookblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/justins-apology-for-plato/
    .
    The point is that St Justin makes the case that Plato/Socrates were not pagans but believed many things about the coming Christ and had good will.  St Thomas speaks highly of Aristotle in this regard too.  Maybe they made it to Limbo?


    Offline ByzCat3000

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    Re: Justin Martyr, heretic on EENS?
    « Reply #2 on: August 09, 2019, 11:02:51 AM »
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  • St Justin was saying that there were God-fearing men who lived among the atheists (i.e. Plato/Socrates) and among the barbarians (i.e. Abraham and the 3 men in the fiery furnace).  In the Old Testament, to be saved, you had to follow the 10 commandments, believe in the one True God and have faith in the coming redeemer.  There is evidence that Plato/Socrates rejected the Greek's polytheism and believed many jewish doctrines.  Socrates is said to have been murdered for his preaching contrary to the Greek pagans.
    .
    https://torreybookblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/justins-apology-for-plato/
    .
    The point is that St Justin makes the case that Plato/Socrates were not pagans but believed many things about the coming Christ and had good will.  St Thomas speaks highly of Aristotle in this regard too.  Maybe they made it to Limbo?
    Its possible that they are, in fact, in Limbo.  But Justin Martyr seems to go further than that by saying they "are Christians." I realize that's not some kind of infallible guarantee that they made it to heaven, but it seems to allow for the possibility.

    (I don't care much, to be clear, whether Socrates is in fact in heaven or not.  What I see as more pertinent is that it seems like speculation along the lines of "people somehow being able to be inside the Church despite not being formal members" seems to go all the way back to Justin Martyr at some level, and so does not seem to be just a post-1600 innovation.)


    Offline Pax Vobis

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    Re: Justin Martyr, heretic on EENS?
    « Reply #3 on: August 09, 2019, 11:21:42 AM »
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  • But there was no Catholic Church to join in the time of Plato/Socrates/Abraham.  There was only the Jewish religion and salvation depended on faith and the 10 commandments more than joining the jewish religion (I could be wrong here, but since the Jewish religion was centered in Jerusalem and not the entire world, as is the Catholic religion's goal, then salvation in the Old Testament was less strict and more based on belief and the natural law since not every man could go to Jerusalem and live there).  The article I linked is saying that St Justin believed that Christ (the logos) revealed Himself to Plato/Socrates just like He did to Abraham.  This is why St Justin called them "Christians", so the article says.
    .
    Just like the good thief on the cross was not Jewish but he was sorry for his sins and believed in the redeemer, therefore he was saved.  Old Testament vs New Testament salvation was different.

    Offline ByzCat3000

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    Re: Justin Martyr, heretic on EENS?
    « Reply #4 on: August 09, 2019, 11:30:01 AM »
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  • But there was no Catholic Church to join in the time of Plato/Socrates/Abraham.  There was only the Jewish religion and salvation depended on faith and the 10 commandments more than joining the jewish religion (I could be wrong here, but since the Jewish religion was centered in Jerusalem and not the entire world, as is the Catholic religion's goal, then salvation in the Old Testament was less strict and more based on belief and the natural law since not every man could go to Jerusalem and live there).  The article I linked is saying that St Justin believed that Christ (the logos) revealed Himself to Plato/Socrates just like He did to Abraham.  This is why St Justin called them "Christians", so the article says.
    I guess I don't understand, from a strictly logical standpoint, why Socrates would be able to make it, but a comparable Chinese man living in the 1st century, or a Native American living in the 14th century, would be damned.  Note that my objection has nothing to do with fairness, per se.  Just logic.  God could have revealed explicit knowledge of the Trinity and the Incarnation to Socrates, but it seems like he chose not to do so until he died.  Yet its at least permissible to believe he was saved (Justin Martyr seems to have believed so, and I'm not aware of the Church ever condemning that belief, or anything like that.)  And if Socrates was able to be Christian despite his ignorance of the New Covenant, the "machinery" for that to apply to other ignorant people seems really old.

    I see what you mean about the Jerusalem thing, that makes sense, but again, I'm not seeing what principle separates the Native American dude in the 14th century from Socrates.  Neither can go to Jerusalem/a part of the known world where there's a Catholic priest available.

    I realize Justin Martyr literally didn't know about the New World situation, but I suspect that if he did, he would've at least seen it as possible that a 14th century Native American who followed natural law and lived reasonably was in a comparable position to Socrates.  I'm not saying I can definitively, absolutely prove that, but it seems likely to me.

    I'd need to do more research to see if St Justin is an anomoly, or if other people held to a position like this. But I'm seeing this as at least a problem for the "the invincibly ignorant being saved is a 17th century innovation" thing.  At the least, it seems like a possible development from what St Justin taught, applied to the previously unprecedented situation of an entire unevangelized continent.

    Unless there's some reason why St Justin's reasoning can't be extended that way.  I'm just not seeing one that isn't arbitrary.  Its true that Catholicism is global in focus in a way that Judaism isn't.  But the mere existence of a global focus, without actual missionaries getting to you (or even being *able* to do so as is the case with say the New World) seems irrelevant.



    Offline Pax Vobis

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    Re: Justin Martyr, heretic on EENS?
    « Reply #5 on: August 09, 2019, 11:43:32 AM »
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  • Quote
    I guess I don't understand, from a strictly logical standpoint, why Socrates would be able to make it, but a comparable Chinese man living in the 1st century, or a Native American living in the 14th century, would be damned.
    Plato/Socrates were known to preach contrary to the entire Greek way of life.  They believed in natural virtue and (presumably) tried to live according to the natural law.  As the saying goes, "grace builds on nature".  God rewards those who live according to their conscience (as is everyone's duty).
    .
    A study of history shows that the Chinese were not open to the Faith, even when missionaries finally went there after the middle ages.  Even the great St Francis Xavier could barely make a few converts in Japan after years of toil.  And Japan learned all their pagan ideas from China, so the two cultures were very similar.  St Francis noted that once he learned about the Japanese culture, he said that the Chinese would have to be converted first, before Japan would follow.
    .
    A study of native American history shows a similar thing.  Most native tribes were utterly pagan and snake-worshipping.  Their culture was based on war and death.  Even the most anti-Catholic historians readily admit this.  Much like the Aztec Indians who offered infants in sacrifice to their gods, the American Indians were ruthless.  They didn't follow the natural law, so they would not be open to spiritual graces.
    .
    The few exceptions of the American tribes show that when the missionaries arrived, they found that these Indians already knew about the one, true God and they recognized the "black robes" (as they called the priests) because God had sent them saints to preach the Faith.  There is also ample historical evidence that the Russians, Celts and other countries traveled to America long before Columbus first arrived.  They brought the Faith with them as well.

    Offline ByzCat3000

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    Re: Justin Martyr, heretic on EENS?
    « Reply #6 on: August 09, 2019, 12:03:11 PM »
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  • Plato/Socrates were known to preach contrary to the entire Greek way of life.  They believed in natural virtue and (presumably) tried to live according to the natural law.  As the saying goes, "grace builds on nature".  God rewards those who live according to their conscience (as is everyone's duty).
    .
    A study of history shows that the Chinese were not open to the Faith, even when missionaries finally went there after the middle ages.  Even the great St Francis Xavier could barely make a few converts in Japan after years of toil.  And Japan learned all their pagan ideas from China, so the two cultures were very similar.  St Francis noted that once he learned about the Japanese culture, he said that the Chinese would have to be converted first, before Japan would follow.
    .
    A study of native American history shows a similar thing.  Most native tribes were utterly pagan and snake-worshipping.  Their culture was based on war and death.  Even the most anti-Catholic historians readily admit this.  Much like the Aztec Indians who offered infants in sacrifice to their gods, the American Indians were ruthless.  They didn't follow the natural law, so they would not be open to spiritual graces.
    .
    The few exceptions of the American tribes show that when the missionaries arrived, they found that these Indians already knew about the one, true God and they recognized the "black robes" (as they called the priests) because God had sent them saints to preach the Faith.  There is also ample historical evidence that the Russians, Celts and other countries traveled to America long before Columbus first arrived.  They brought the Faith with them as well.
    I see your point, but you're arguing against something I'm not suggesting.  I was arguing that there could be a small number of people who were in a comparable position to Socrates, not that whole swaths of pagan cultures are in a comparable position.  I agree that Vatican II can be read to suggest that, and that's where I have issue with it.

    I agree that these cultures, on the whole, taken as groups, weren't even following the natural law, and that, as a group, those people were damned.  

    Offline Pax Vobis

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    Re: Justin Martyr, heretic on EENS?
    « Reply #7 on: August 09, 2019, 12:13:07 PM »
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  • Quote
    I was arguing that there could be a small number of people who were in a comparable position to Socrates
    How do we know that God didn't send saints miraculously to preach in China or Japan to these few, just as He did to the American Indians?  Our Faith says we must believe God would do so. 


    Offline ByzCat3000

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    Re: Justin Martyr, heretic on EENS?
    « Reply #8 on: August 09, 2019, 12:26:14 PM »
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  • How do we know that God didn't send saints miraculously to preach in China or Japan to these few, just as He did to the American Indians?  Our Faith says we must believe God would do so.
    I don't know.  I never claimed to know.  But, God could have done that with Socrates as well.  

    Offline Pax Vobis

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    Re: Justin Martyr, heretic on EENS?
    « Reply #9 on: August 09, 2019, 12:33:05 PM »
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  • Quote
    I don't know.  I never claimed to know.  But, God could have done that with Socrates as well. 

    Exactly.  That is what St Justin is saying, that Christ revealed Himself to Plato, just as Abraham was told about the Redeemer.  Just as God miraculously sent St Peter to Cornelius in Scripture.  Just as Blessed Mary of Agreda bilocated to preach to the American Indians.  Just like St Thomas the Apostle was miraculously transported from India to see the Assumption of Our Lady with the rest of the Apostles.  Just as St Padre Pio was transported to hear a dying man's confession who was on some remote snowy mountain.
    .
    Our Faith tells us, and so does Scripture, that "God's hand is not shortened to save..."  (Isaiah)

    Offline ByzCat3000

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    Re: Justin Martyr, heretic on EENS?
    « Reply #10 on: August 09, 2019, 01:01:47 PM »
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  • Exactly.  That is what St Justin is saying, that Christ revealed Himself to Plato, just as Abraham was told about the Redeemer.  Just as God miraculously sent St Peter to Cornelius in Scripture.  Just as Blessed Mary of Agreda bilocated to preach to the American Indians.  Just like St Thomas the Apostle was miraculously transported from India to see the Assumption of Our Lady with the rest of the Apostles.  Just as St Padre Pio was transported to hear a dying man's confession who was on some remote snowy mountain.
    .
    Our Faith tells us, and so does Scripture, that "God's hand is not shortened to save..."  (Isaiah)
    Are you saying that Christ revealed Himself to Plato *before his death?*  If so, I mean... sure, he could have done that, but St. Justin doesn't say that, and at least seems to presume the possibility that he didn't.

    I agree, of course, that anyone who is in Heaven has knowledge *now.*  There are no Protestants in heaven.  No Muslims.  No Buddhists.  No Hindus.  No Eastern Orthodox.  IF somehow any people who lived their lives as such were saved, despite their religions, they are certainly Catholic NOW.

    The issue, as far as I understood it, was whether every soul had to believe in the Trinity and the Incarnation IN THIS LIFE in order to be saved, or if a soul who was invincibly ignorant of the Trinity and the Incarnation *COULD* be saved if they followed the natural law, etc.  While I realize in the Old Covenant the level of knowledge required would've been different, it seems like the same principles Justin Martyr applies to Socrates, if accurate, COULD be applied to certain invincibly ignorant individuals after the coming of Christ *unless* there's something that I'm missing.

    The more I get into this, the more I'm seeing that its a super complex issue because the exact terminology you use, at every point, matters.  


    Offline Pax Vobis

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    Re: Justin Martyr, heretic on EENS?
    « Reply #11 on: August 09, 2019, 01:20:11 PM »
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  • Quote
    Are you saying that Christ revealed Himself to Plato *before his death?* 
    Yes, that's what the article I posted says.  The article has additional quotes from St Justin which refers to this.

    Quote
    I agree, of course, that anyone who is in Heaven has knowledge *now.*  There are no Protestants in heaven.  No Muslims.  No Buddhists.  No Hindus.  No Eastern Orthodox.  IF somehow any people who lived their lives as such were saved, despite their religions, they are certainly Catholic NOW.
    We must say they had knowledge BEFORE THEY DIED.  We must say, per Catholic doctrine, that they left their false religions and became Catholic BEFORE DEATH.

    Quote
    The issue, as far as I understood it, was whether every soul had to believe in the Trinity and the Incarnation IN THIS LIFE in order to be saved, or if a soul who was invincibly ignorant of the Trinity and the Incarnation *COULD* be saved if they followed the natural law, etc. 

    If they followed the natural law only, but did not know of the Faith, they would go to Limbo.  If they followed the natural law, and God revealed to them the Faith, and they believed, they could be saved.  The New Testament has the additional requirement of baptism, in addition to Faith.

    Offline ByzCat3000

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    Re: Justin Martyr, heretic on EENS?
    « Reply #12 on: August 09, 2019, 10:54:01 PM »
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  • Can you show me where St Justin says it definitely happened before their deaths?  I don't see where he says that. 

    Offline Pax Vobis

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    Re: Justin Martyr, heretic on EENS?
    « Reply #13 on: August 10, 2019, 12:05:20 AM »
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  • The article posted is the extent that I will research this matter.  St Justin is making an argument (opinion).  It’s not some doctrinal statement. 

    Offline Last Tradhican

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    Re: Justin Martyr, heretic on EENS?
    « Reply #14 on: August 10, 2019, 04:47:04 AM »
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  • Justin Martyr was not teaching anything contrary to what Ladislus said, Justin Martyr is teaching about those people who went to Paradise, Limbo of the Patriarchs, not Heaven. Read below:



    Quote
    re: “Today you shall be with me in paradise” Was the thief on the cross baptised? Was he saved?

    The good thief was under the old covenant. He did not go directly to heaven, he went to the same place as Adam, Eve, Abraham, and the Holy Innocents all of which were not under the obligation of being baptized to be saved. Heaven was not opened till the Resurrection of Our Lord.

    From The Catechism of Trent: Baptism Made Obligatory After Christ's Resurrection

    The second period to be distinguished, that is, the time when the law of Baptism was made, also admits of no doubt. Holy writers are unanimous in saying that after the Resurrection of our Lord, when He gave to His Apostles the command to go and teach all nations: baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, the law of Baptism became obligatory on all who were to be saved.




    The Vatican II church - Assisting Souls to Hell Since 1962

    For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect. Mat 24:24

     

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